Tag Archives: estate agent

Do I need listed building consent to erect a timber garden shed/ studio?

An interesting discussion/ training session in the office today.

 
A potential buyer wants to erect a wooden studio (large shed) on a property we are selling.
10049121189918
 
The property itself is Grade 2 listed which would normally mean planning permission would be required* however, the land the shed would sit on is not attached to the property or its immediate surroundings but, is accessed via a shared path and a 30 yard/ meter or so walk.
The legal definition of curtilage** suggests to us that the land does not form part of the curtilage of the main property. Accordingly, it does not form part of the listing in our opinion and, so, the shed/ studio will not need planning permission as long as it complies with the other permitted developments. Outbuildings are considered to be permitted development, not needing planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:
Please note: PDQ are not lawyers and we have advised the buyer to consult with their legal advisors to verify this opinion and would advise readers in a similar situation to take independent legal advice before proceeding with any actions that may incur cost or time.
If you need advice on a property you are thinking of selling or developing property in Mid or West Cornwall, give us a call or drop us a line below. Before employing any agent, always ask to see their CV. Here’s mine
Director
PDQ Estates Ltd

*References:

Planning Portal

Local Government Lawyer

1,978 home-owners* in West Cornwall made one of the worst property decisions in their lives last year… They chose some of the most successful agents in the area to market their homes

1,978 home-owners* in West Cornwall made one of the worst property decisions in their lives last year…
They chose some of the most ‘successful’ agents in the area to market their homes

If you’d like to know what that mistake actually means and why you are statistically likely to make a similar mistake when you come to put your home up for sale or rent, you might want to invest a few minutes of your time and read this article. It could save you a lot of time, heartache and, possibly, even make you financially better off too.

The three key requirements most sellers have is;
1. to find a buyer
2. in a reasonable time and,
3. at a great or, at the very least, a fair market price.
All agents should be working for you towards that aim.

Let me start by saying that in 2014, my market share** of newly marketed homes in West Cornwall was just 1.5%. My largest competitor had 12.5%.

That firm, along with the other five main agents, accounted for 45% of all newly advertised properties in the area between them. Volume and turnover of property is crucial to their profits.

A higher chance of finding a buyer?
However, having taken on 45% of all new instructions you might reasonably have expected them to account for around 45% of all completions (sales). But, here’s the thing… these firms only accounted for 32%.

True, hundreds of people still sold their homes through these agents (more than my firm sold) but several hundred of their customers’ homes that, logically, statistically, should have sold… Didn’t. In retail, this sort of loss is called ‘wastage’. 

For every 100 homes our competitors were given to sell last year they only found buyers for  less than 60 (My  clients, on the other hand, enjoyed a 75% success rate)

Despite this unfortunate (for the customers involved) loss, the volumes of scale these firms command make for great advertising and marketing war-chests so, again, you might expect the buyers for the sales that are agreed to be found more quickly and efficiently than by smaller agents.

So their customers sold more quickly then…?
The average time spent on the market until sold for the customers of the big five was a tad over 17 weeks. The area average for all agents was two weeks less. The best time? Just under 7 weeks (6.6 to be precise). Once again, customers who had chosen some of the best known names in the area had lost out.

Best price?
It can be dangerous to make comparisons between asking prices and selling prices for a whole host of reasons as I’ve mentioned previously in this blog post. That said, with those caveats declared, the figures taken at face value, will not make comfortable reading for the agents involved and, even less so for the owners of the properties that may have been affected. The average selling price of the big five was 89.6% of their average asking price. The closest average sold figures to the average asking price in the area was 97.9% – a potential average loss to customers of over £16,500***

“…life’s most successful people don’t just blindly follow a crowd. They look at alternatives.”

Why did so many people get it so wrong?
Most people chose those firms because they appear successful and as humans we are hard-wired to follow a crowd. But life’s most successful people don’t just blindly follow a crowd. They look at alternatives. They consider other options that may be more beneficial to them and their families, even if that means breaking with convention and moving away from the apparent comfort of the herd.

I’ve been selling property and training estate-agents for over a quarter of a century now and I believe  I’ve consistently shown that having a smaller, manageable, register of clients means a team can provide a better standard of service and, achieve far better results for those clients as a result.   Chris Wood

I welcome feedback so please feel free to leave constructive criticisms or ask questions below. If you could also take a second to rate my blog and pass it on to others who you think may find it interesting that would be great. Thanks.

Chris Wood of PDQ Estates Ltd

PDQ Estate Agents website

About Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience. His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall and was included in the Daily Telegraphs’ list of the UK’s top 20 best small estate agents “who go above and beyond to help their customers” in 2013.

He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco.

A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards forestate agents in the UK.

No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter – In his spare time; Chris likes to keep fit and was a long-standing member of the Territorial Army.

In 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade but was medically evacuated back to the UK before deploying to his forward base with his unit and is now  medically discharged from the army.


*1,978 of those people who put their property up for sale last year; not all property owners. Sorry, we used a statistical sleight of hand to catch your eye in the sub-headline but, we hope you’ll forgive us. Thank you. By the way, if you are reading this, the chances are that you are one of the wise minority of people who actually take time to research their agents before they appoint one and, read the small print before signing any contracts. Even if you decide not to use PDQ after reading this, we humbly applaud your perspicacious character.
**Market data taken from agents advertising on Zoopla for all of 2014 for the West Cornwall area
*** based on an original notional average asking price of £200,000

Why you may be being duped – Average asking prices v Average selling prices – Beware

lies damn lies and statisticsA number of estate agency firms (including my own firm, PDQ) use average asking prices compared to average selling prices in their marketing. But, there is a very real danger of confusing and abusing these statistics and consumers can easily be duped by impressive sounding claims if they are not careful.

Example: “Our figures demonstrate we achieved 99% of the asking price compared to 96% of the average UK estate agency firm. This means we might achieve £6,000* more for you if you sell through us .

*based on a selling price of £200,000.”

The claim is clear. Sell with us, and you will sell your home for more money! But does it really mean the average seller will sell for more than with the average estate agent? In a word – No!

An explanation: Many UK property statistics suppliers, including Zoopla (and some agents) calculate their average asking to selling figures by the price the property is being marketed at when it is taken off the market with them and NOT (as many assume) the price the property actually sold at.

Example: A property comes onto the market at £200,000, reduces its price to £190,000 and a sale is then agreed at £180,000. In this case, the selling price would be recorded by Zoopla as £190,000 and not £180,000.

But there’s more! Now let’s look at the how you may be being duped by the average asking price / selling price claims even further.

Assuming an agent takes on two properties; one at £500,000 and one at £100,000. His average asking price will be £300,000.

Assuming neither of the properties drop their prices before being taken off the market; if the agent then sells the £500,000 property at the asking price, his average selling price will be £500,000 – £200,000 above his average asking price. To the average reader, this appears to suggest that the agent achieves £200,000 over the asking price for his customers. In fact, of course, this is not true at all.

However, if the agent had sold the £100,000 property at £100,000 then his average sale price would be just £100,000. £200,000 BELOW his average asking price. Not something he will want to shout quite so loudly about, perhaps?

This is the interpretation that, I believe, many agents quite unwittingly use. Of course, it MAY be the case that they genuinely achieve above the asking price for most of their customers properties BUT, my belief is that they have misinterpreted the figures and are misleading customers (unintentionally or intentionally) as a result.

There are, in fact, three possibilities to explain statistics that show average sale prices below or above an agents asking price:

  1. As in the example above, the agent takes on a wide range of property prices but sell more stock of one (higher or lower) price sector of the market than another.
  2. That the agent tends to regularly overvalue/ undervalue properties when they come onto the market. This can manifest itself in selling percentages either very close to, or over, the (artificially low) asking price boosting the agents statistical claims or; they sell for well below the average asking price and the agent keeps quiet about his average sale price.
  3. That the agent genuinely does achieve close to the asking price by using well-trained negotiators who know how to obtain the best price for their selling customers in the current local market. To verify whether this is the case, customers should compare similar property sales in their locale, to the ones the agent is using in his or her statistics*

*There are numerous sites where you can check an agents average sale price, area sale prices and, actual sold prices for your property type, style and area. Try Zoopla, Mouseprice, NethousePrices and home.co.uk

Having checked all of the actual sold prices of all of our customers who sold through us in 2014 against the original asking prices of the same properties (the gold standard for this comparison), PDQ achieved an average of 98.55% of the original asking price for them (a figure we are happy to have verified by two independent trade journalists of our choice if requested).

One national agent who uses a high asking to selling price success rate percentage in their advertising doesn’t do so well when their local sale statistics are looked at. In 2014 in West Cornwall their average percentage was just 90%, ‘losing’ their average customer over £45,000 (using their own interpretation of average sale to average asking prices).

As always, these statistics need to be viewed carefully, are from a statiscally small data set and, may well be genuine on a national basis, however; having checked our figures and like for like comparable sales in the area, we are fairly certain that this particular agents claim needs further scrutiny.


 

I welcome feedback so please feel free to leave constructive criticisms or ask questions below. If you could also take a second to rate my blog and pass it on to others who you think may find it interesting that would be great. Thanks.

Chris Wood of PDQ Estates Ltd

PDQ Estate Agents website

About Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience. His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall and was included in the Daily Telegraphs’ list of the UK’s top 20 best small estate agents “who go above and beyond to help their customers” in 2013.

He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco.

A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards forestate agents in the UK.

No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter Married to Amanda, they live in Penzance with their children who are slowly flying the nest, along with their three spaniels. In his spare time; Chris likes to keep fit and is a long-standing member of the Territorial Army.

In 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade but was medically evacuated back to the UK before deploying to his forward base with his unit and is now being medically discharged from the army.

“What does your local knowledge add to anything? Tangibly”

“What does your local knowledge add to anything? Tangibly”  

House prices in West Cornwall

Does local knowledge help increase the sale price?

This challenge was laid down by Russell Quirk, CEO of eMoov during a ‘spirited’ debate on Twitter, following some press coverage of online agents in the national press and some hard data I had published in a previous blog*.

So, does local knowledge trump data and achieve tangibly better prices for consumers? (95% or so of that data being provided by traditional estate agents sales, it should be pointed out)

You can help

What I need help with is for agents across the UK (online and high street) to provide a statistically significant sample of genuine, like for like** sales figures of sold properties using HM Land registry and Zoopla/ Rightmove data.

“Local knowledge as a value added is totally unquantifiable and unprovable. Smoke and mirrors” 

The methodology I used was to

  • Use the pro.zoopla search for all agents in my postcode areas for January 1st 2014 to 31st October 2014 inclusive
  • Search for all ‘SOLD’ properties during that period and switch to ‘company’ and ‘data’ view.
  • Eliminate all agents bar online agents from the search and identify all property sales that may offer a ‘like for like’ comparison using HM Land Registry data
  • Identify all the properties for comparison and, using a site such as Nethouseprices.com or Mouseprice.com cross check the sale price achieved by the online agents versus comparable sales within a 0.25 mile radius of near identical properties – condition, size, location, style, number of bedrooms etc. Please do not cherry pick, this needs to be an honest, accurate and fair assessment.
  • Email me the following information: Postcode areas assessed (very important to avoid duplication of data), the number of sold properties during the period by online agents, the sale price achieved (HM Land Registry figures) of those properties and, comparable sale prices achieved for similar stock by traditional agents in the same period – please supply full address including postcode for transparency and checking of data (all of which is publicly available so no data protection issues to worry about)
  • Whilst not essential, it would also be of great help for a future blog about the advantages/ disadvantages of this business model to agents and customers, if you could also provide the following data for online agents at the same time: Total number of new instructions during the period, total number sold, total current live stock levels.
  • Please provide the above information by Friday the 28th of November – Any data received after this will be included in updates to the blog

Once I have this data, I will publish my findings ‘warts and all’.

If online truly offers customers amazing sale and fall-through rates for a greatly lower fee, with no significant difference in selling price achieved, this data will be a wake-up call for all traditional agents to review their business models.

However, I suspect, from the sample I took in West Cornwall (which Mr Quirk is very quick to emphasise was a small sample compared to National figures) the results may shine a cold light on some of the claims made by online agents.


 

*In the data I checked using the only two completed sales in the area for the entire year by one online agent, one of the properties sold for £25,000 less than an almost identical property two doors away.

**By like for like, what I mean is examples of almost identical properties such as 2, 3 and 4 bedroom terraced, semi and detached ‘estate’ style homes rather than large ‘individual’ properties where prices can vary dramatically due to many factors.


 

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I welcome feedback so please feel free to leave constructive criticisms or ask questions below. If you could also take a second to rate my blog and pass it on to others who you think may find it interesting that would be great. Thanks.

20140124-071202.jpgAbout Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience. His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall. He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco. A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards forestate agents in the UK. No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter Married to Amanda, they live in Penzance with their children who are slowly flying the nest, along with their three spaniels. In his spare time; Chris likes to keep fit and is a long-standing member of the Territorial Army. In 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade.

Online agents – Big savings or, paying up-front for failure?

Confused girlOnline agents – Big savings or, paying up-front for failure?

See also “Cheap agents could cost UK consumers half a £Billion in wasted fees”

As an agent who has always embraced new technology and working practices, I have no problem with on-line agents, in fact, PDQ now has an on-line only hybrid model in addition to our traditional estate agency service. However; what I do find unsettling, is when agents of any camp (on-line or high-street), make bold claims about being better than anyone else, or saving the consumer money etc, without giving a full account of the facts.

Having had some spirited debates on social -media with one or two online agents and, being a bit of a pedantic statistics nerd, I thought I would take a look at some of their claims and the facts behind them. If you are thinking of selling your home using an online agent*, the results make for interesting reading.

For my research, I’ve used data from ZooplaPro* in the West Cornwall area and the data for one online agent who has the largest market share of online agents in that area. To save blushes (and law-suits if I have got my maths wrong), I have invented a fictitious trading name of ‘Hapless’ (please see note below) estate agents; no inference of any actual estate agent trading with that name is implied or should be inferred. Here are the facts for the area surveyed*

  • Zoopla shows an area total of 5,105 new instructions since Jan the 1st 2014

  • Of which, 7 were Hapless instructions– a market share of new-instructions of 0.14%

  • Hapless currently have a total of 11 properties available for sale with an average time of 22 weeks on the market against an area average of 27 weeks.

  • Of the 11 properties on with Hapless, 18% have been up for sale for over 40 weeks and 64% have been up for sale for 20 weeks or more

  • Since January the 1st, Hapless have sold 2 properties (a 29% success rate against their new instructions YTD but a 18% success rate compared to their current total register)

  • In comparison the average instruction to sold rate in the area is 60%, with PDQ’s average being 79%)

  • Of the 2 properties that Hapless sold, one sold at £175,000 after a £15,000 drop and 10 months on the market – an almost identical property next door, however, sold at £200,000 3 months previously after 5 months on the market; a potential £25,000 loss for the sellers of the agents using Hapless?

With a market share of 0.14%, you can see why I don’t spend sleepless nights worrying about on-line agents (at least, not at the moment). However, as a consumer, what do these figures really tell you?

Almost without exception, on-line agents say how much they can save sellers and that they are just as effective (or more  effective in some cases) at selling as high street agents. Without doubt, if you sell your home with a typical on-line agent, you will pay less than with a high street agent but that, in itself, is not a real saving. (UPDATE –  Some of these claims have now been proven to be misleading by the ASA )

What do I mean by this?

Firstly, all online agents that I am aware of, charge an up-front fee of several hundred pounds. This is payable whether you sell or not. So if you don’t sell, you haven’t saved. Quite the opposite to most high-street agents where you have a no-sale-no-fee guarantee. If you don’t sell with my firm, we won’t charge you a penny; a saving of around £600 compared to a few on-line agents.

In the case of Hapless estate agents, they have only sold two properties this year out of seven new instructions and four existing ones that have been up for sale since 2013. Even using the most favourable instruction to sale ratio, this means that (based on 2014 figures) 71% of all of Hapless’ customers in the area we surveyed will pay for a service (selling their home) that they won’t actually receive. For Hapless’ (and other on-line agents) press claims about saving customers money to be accurate, they should, in my opinion, factor in the amount of customers who do not sell through them but, who have still paid for a service.

But what if they DO sell your home?

Again, to fully check the claim of any real savings, we have to compare the whole price including sale price of any property sold. By that I mean that if you have sold your home at a lower price than you might have with another agent, even if you have paid less for the privilege of doing so, you have not saved. Hapless have only sold two customers homes this year but one of these sold for £25,000 less than a very similar** neighbouring property. No doubt, this seller ‘saved’ on agents fees but, by my calculations, were potentially worse off by around £21,000. The other property sold at the asking price however, it is not possible to compare like for like with that property as other properties in the same road vary in price and style dramatically (by several hundred thousand pounds in two cases we found).

To be even-handed, assuming the property actually sold at its full market value (unlike the other Hapless sale), the owner of that property probably saved in the region of £8,526 including VAT. However, viewed as a whole, the other 9 Hapless customers who haven’t/ didn’t sell have lost a total of around £5,400 between them with, of course, the other seller having a potential loss of £21,000

No doubt, this seller ‘saved’ on agents fees but, by my calculations, were potentially worse off by around £21,000.

What are the chances of you actually selling with Hapless?

Not all agents are the same as our monthly property market report for Cornwall clearly shows (link is a PDF download). From the data we have analysed, there appears to be a possible inverse correlation between the size of an agents register (how many homes they have for sale) and the percentage chance they have of actually achieving a sale, I.e. The more properties an agent has up for sale, the less likely it appears are your chances are of actually selling. In the case of Hapless agents, the size of their market share is statistically insignificant in our dataset area but, they may have a larger share nationally. However, what is clear from the data is that if you choose to sell through Hapless, you are more likely NOT to sell, than sell – only 18% – 29% at best, of their customers homes have achieved a sale. Put another way, Hapless have failed to sell between 71% and 82% of every customers’ home they have taken money from this year.

So how does this compare to high street agents?

As you see from the table above, the average agent in the West Cornwall area, has sold 60% of all they have taken on this year with (forgive the plug) my own company, PDQ, selling 79%. Again, these claims need to be looked at in the whole – how much have each of these homes sold for, were they correctly priced etc but, I’m afraid, I simply don’t have the time or resources to analyse over 2,000 housing transactions in the west Cornwall area. Whichever way you look at it, the High Street Agent offers a statistically far greater chance of actually selling than Hapless do in the West Cornwall area.

Put another way, Hapless have failed to sell between 71% and 82% of every customers’ home they have taken money from this year.

 How about the speed of selling/ time on the market?

Unfortunately, extrapolating figures for the “speed of selling” is not as easy as finding out the average “time on the market”. Although these two concepts sound the same, they are not. As we have already seen, not all properties sell and many of these are taken off the market or, try another agent. Consequently, the portals tend to show only how long a property was up for sale and not, how long the properties that actually sold were up for sale for. A subtle difference but, an important one. For this comparison, I am using ‘time on the market’.

Using time on the market as a heading, as can be seen in the table above, Hapless agents do quite well against the average of 27 weeks for all agents, with an average of 20 weeks. However, consumers thinking of using Hapless might again, want to view this in the light of three very recent instructions bringing that average down quite dramatically and, the fact that, as I have shown above, 71-82% of all of their customers homes have failed to sell.

Conclusions

On the face of it, using an on-line agent seems like a bit of a no-brainer; the savings and speed of sale that many boast of sound like a great deal and, no doubt, in some parts of the UK and in certain niche markets, they may well live up to those claims. However, in the sample I have looked at, they fail on every count and, on every claim I have debated with them, at length, on Twitter. Not only do Hapless agents not have a large and growing sector of the market as they claim, they don’t even have a 1% share in the area I looked at. More importantly, their claims to save people money simply do not stack up as the majority of their customers have already paid for a service they are statistically very unlikely to receive, hardly a saving or, in my opinion, a fair and legitimate claim.

As for real ‘savings’, this needs to be seen in the whole and, based on the evidence I have shown; of the two houses they have sold this year in my area one appears, on the face of it, to have been undersold by a significant sum of money and the other is impossible to check accurately. As with all things, you pay your money (up-front in the case of on-line agents) and you takes your choice. My advice. Don’t just look for an agent with the biggest claims, the cheapest fees or, the most for sale boards. Do your research before you choose an agent and always look deeper into agents claims. Challenge your agent to prove why they are worth your business; good agents will be happy to answer your questions.

Chris Wood 05.11.14 

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Fictitious agents name change – An explanation. We have been asked to change the name of the fictitious firm we invented as it contained the same four letters of part a much longer trade name used by another online property business and the owners of that business believed it was damaging their brand. We are happy make it clear that, whilst we do not believe that any reasonable person would have drawn the conclusion that the name we used was in any way related to another company that does not even deal in online property sales at the moment or even any online properties in the area we mentioned in this post, we intended no confusion or slur on our part. We would also like to point out that when and if that business secures enough market share in the area under review for us to make a reasonable comparable analysis we will, however, be happy to run a similar exercise using the same data sets and their full trade name alongside our own trading data in order for a fair comparison to be drawn by consumers.

*The data was taken from West Cornwall only. Success and failure results of online and traditional agents are likely to (and do) vary significantly in other parts of the UK.

*Journalists: On request, I will provide all of my working data and remote screen access to online data  used in this post for verification to a panel of independent property journalists for verification and checking.

All data taken from Zoopla Pro

Using postcodes TR3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20 (West Cornwall)

All new instructions and ‘sold’ data taken from Jan the 1st 2014 to date

Whilst I am not a qualified or trained statistician, I am aware that the sample above may be regarded as statistically insignificant and, therefore, possibly unsafe to base any firm conclusions on but, given the claims of massively increased market share by some online agents, I believe they are worth publishing to open up debate and give a transparent picture of the reality of online agents in one small part of the UK.

**I have not visited the two properties but have seen their on-line details/ photographs on Zoopla. Both are on the same estate, are two door numbers apart, are both detached 3 bedroom homes and both sold within a few months of each other in a stable price market (low, single digit house price increases over a 12 month period – Data HM Land Registry)


I welcome feedback so please feel free to leave constructive criticisms or ask questions below. If you could also take a second to rate my blog and pass it on to others who you think may find it interesting that would be great. Thanks.

Chris Wood of PDQ Estates Ltd

PDQ Estate Agents website

About Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience and a leading campaigner against PortalJuggling.

His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall. He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco. A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards forestate agents in the UK. No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers.

Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter and lives in his beloved Penzance with his two spaniels. In his spare time; Chris likes to sail and is a former long-standing member of the Territorial Army. In 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade.

Since when did being able to afford to buy a home where you want become a ‘right’?

Since when did being able to afford to buy a home where you want become a ‘right’?

I ask this following on from a few comments on our social media posts recently where some posters have made usually benign, but occasionally unpleasant, comments about the price of property and its general affordability. A number of comments seem to imply that affordable housing for purchase (not rent) is, or should be, a right.

Rather than ignore this thorny subject, I thought it would be good to open it up for debate as an issue that faces many people across the UK, not just in West Cornwall.

In modern-day Britain everyone should, and does in fact, have the right to a place they can call home but, mass home-ownership (as opposed to rented accommodation) is a very new phenomenon (see pic 1.) and its current reversal of popularity may not just be the obvious one; as more younger people are choosing to rent giving them, as it does, greater flexibility with job movement and lower financial responsibilities and commitments if the property develops problems.

So should everyone have a ‘right’ to be able to afford to buy a home where they choose or, happen to have been born by accident of birth?

A century of HomeOwnership Pic Credit ONS

A century of HomeOwnership Pic Credit ONS

Of course, everyone does have a right to buy property at a price they can afford. What is not always possible is affording what they want to buy, where they want to buy it.

A flippant answer would be to say that if someone were to be offered a low paid job in Mayfair, London, that housing should be supplied at an affordable price to buy in that area with, the immediate massive hike in value its new owner would currently enjoy. Cash-in on the price hike, quit the job and move on to the next property hot-spot. Easy money! A lovely thought but life, sadly, doesn’t usually work out like that for most of us

Interestingly, one of the most recent commentators on our posts who complained about the lack of affordable housing to buy in West Cornwall, chooses to work outside of the Duchy. Thanks to social media and having a lifelong friend in the same industry as the poster, we can see our poster works in what I know to be a relatively well paid job in an area of the UK that, until the big industry that he works in arrived, had very affordable housing for the local population. However, ask a second or third generation local in that city who doesn’t work in that major industry and they will tell you that they cannot afford to buy where they were born due to outsiders coming in and pushing up prices. My irony meter has just exploded.

Those locals in that area have very similar choices and opportunities to that which our poster enjoys. He chose to work away from his town of birth and move to an area where work paid more and offered more remuneration for his skills. In doing so, it could be argued, he prevented local people in that area from taking well paid employment and, pushed up property prices out of their reach.

Should our poster have been forced to stay in the area of his birth and denied the opportunity to travel to a university city (thus pushing up property prices massively in that locale) to further his education and opportunities? Of course not but, many people who post heated rants against local house prices, often forget that their argument works both ways…

Should our poster be denied the right to better himself and earn a reasonable living by travelling around the UK and abroad to work for major employers? Not many people would deny him that; I for one certainly don’t.

Having been educated and employed out of his local area, is it fair that his local area is required to provide him with subsidised housing to buy and, presumably, profit from in the long-term when he decides to return? Over to you on that one.

But even if we take someone like me, who left school at 16 to, initially, work as a fisherman, who didn’t leave the Duchy to go to University and, who has worked long hours and had countless sleepless nights to build up a business that now provides employment for seven local people; should I simply be provided with a home I can afford to buy in my home town? If so, how do we define what is ‘affordable’?

What was affordable for me today following an injury whilst training for deployment to Afghanistan with 3 Commando Brigade is quite different from what was affordable for me when I was acting as the sole consultant to Tesco & RBS a few years ago and, why should I be ‘given’ an affordable home in any case?

Where should this affordable home be? Where I want it to be, with a nice sea view, good-sized gardens and close to all amenities or, will it be where some local committee or bureaucrat decrees my affordable home must be? If so, if I don’t have a say in where it is or what it looks like; it’s not really ‘my’ home. I might as well rent. It’s not much of a ‘right’.

Related: See my blog affordable on affordable housing


 

Chris Wood

I welcome feedback so please feel free to leave constructive criticisms or ask questions below. If you could also take a second to rate my blog and pass it on to others who you think may find it interesting that would be great. Thanks.

Chris Wood of PDQ Estates Ltd

PDQ Estate Agents website

About Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience and a leading campaigner against PortalJuggling  His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall. He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco. A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards forestate agents in the UK. No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter

Chris was born and lives in his beloved Penzance with his two spaniels, likes to keep fit and is a former member of the Territorial Army. In 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade.

Quote My Home

Quote My Home

middle manWhy adding a middle-man into your house-sale might not make the best sense

Thinking of using an agent quotation site?
There are a number of new sites popping up where you enter your house details to a portal and agents bid for your business.

On the face of it, they sound like a good deal: You let two or three agents submit proposals to you and you pick the winner – Great! – But, is it the best way to secure the best result for you and your home?

First of all – What are your primary aims for selling in the first place?

  • Do you need to sell quickly
  • Is price the most important consideration?
  • Or, do you need to move by a certain date?

Unless the bidding agents know this basic information, they can’t possibly advise you on the best course of action that right for you

Second – What do you actually want from an agent? – “Duh! Sell my home” – Apart from the obvious; after your primary aims for selling (above) this should be one of the top questions you ask yourself.

  • Are you just looking for the lowest commission?
  • Is a quality service important to you?
  • Have they got a good record for selling homes quickly?
  • Can they show they can achieve good sale prices?
  • Do you want your agent to accompany every viewing?
  • Are they open at weekend and cover evening appointments?
  • Are their staff trained/ qualified?
  • Have they suitable experience in the area?

If you are looking for the lowest fees, it’s simple, there are plenty of online agents who will take a few hundred quid up front from you and stick your home on Rightmove with little to no incentive to sell your home or negotiate a better price. So why bother with a bidding process in the first place?

All of the other questions, are best asked when you ask those agents out to your home, where they can bid for your business having seen your home, appreciated what your needs are and formulated and discussed a marketing plan that suits you and your budget.

Ask any consumer journalist and they will tell you to do your own research and then ask out three agents where you can give them a friendly grilling using pre-prepared questions (at PDQ, we even send out a list of questions to ask us and words/ phrases to be wary of to help make the process easier). You still end up with three agents bidding for your business but, the end result is far more likely to be the one you want and; let’s be honest; when was the last time that adding a middle-man into the equation helped make a situation better for the consumer?

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I welcome feedback so please feel free to leave constructive criticisms or ask questions below. If you could also take a second to rate my blog and pass it on to others who you think may find it interesting that would be great. Thanks.

Chris Wood

Chris Wood

PDQ Estates Ltd

Wish you were here

About Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience. His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall. He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco. A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards forestate agents in the UK. No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter Married to Amanda, they live in Penzance with their children who are slowly flying the nest, along with their three spaniels. In his spare time; Chris likes to keep fit and is a long-standing member of the Territorial Army. In 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade.

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